By the Rev. Marlene Mutchler, vicar
This year St. Bede is embarking together on a period of discernment to distill its vocational vision as a unique Episcopal community in Forest Grove. We are doing something audacious in this: aiming to be cocreators with God in the New Jerusalem here at St. Bede. It is a bold endeavor, but we are emboldened by the prayer, “Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life.” Our trust in God will light our way.
Of course, there are dangers. The path to the New Jerusalem at St. Bede will be paved with deep listening, conversations, and trial and error. Make no mistake, we will fail at times. We will disappoint one another and fall short. It will be hard work. Many of the miracles of God are wrought through the hard work of people striving together. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years, Noah and his family built the ark through sweat and hard labor.
And we don’t do this alone. We are blessed with amazing resources at St. Bede. We have a wonderful discernment committee. We also have the triune God and the Holy Spirit wending its way through this entire process. We have gifts of prayer, and spiritual practices, and a process developed with the help of diocesan facilitators at the Congregational Vitality Workshop last spring.
Our discernment process will continue until Epiphany 2020, a good time to see things more clearly – in Epiphany, the season of light. By then hopefully we will have 20/20 vision of our next steps. Our Lenten program in 2020 will consist of finding ways to make our vision a reality.
Besides the regular meetings and conversations of our discernment committee, St. Bede will meet four times for congregational conversations focusing on various areas that are sources of transformation for us: Community Life, Christian Formation, Prayer and Worship, and Community Service. We’ve chosen the triquetra, or Trinity knot, as a visual model because, as in the life of the Trinity, our life together at St. Bede dynamically impacts us as persons in discipleship, as a church, and our wider community. We hope in all of these conversations to synthesize our learning into a shared vision of where God is calling us as a community of disciples in service to the world.
Please pray for St. Bede as we begin to share and dream about where God may be leading us. Pray for us as we dare greatly together to understand what the New Jerusalem will mean for us here and now. Let us remember to love one another through the process as Christ loved us and pray that St. Bede’s will continue to develop as an axis mundi, a high place, where God’s love flows through us and into the world like a healing river.